Enterprise hiring strategies for mobile revealed: How to make the most of your hand


Research conducted by TechValidate on behalf of Red Hat has found a similar number of organisations are looking to hire employees with back end integration (27%) and front end integration (32%).

The research, which polled more than 100 enterprise IT decision makers as a sample of Red Hat’s global customers, revealed organisations are beginning to take a more strategic approach to IoT for their enterprise mobility strategy, with 70% of respondents looking to incorporate IoT projects within the next five years. Yet this does not translate into support for wearables, with only 3% of organisations planning to hire related skills this year.

The findings shed some light on how enterprises are hiring to integrate mobile into their future strategy, but there is still plenty of work to be done. Stack Overflow’s 2015 developer survey, of more than 26,000 respondents, saw only 1,900 – or just over 7% - identify themselves principally as mobile developers.

Steve O’Keefe, Red Hat product line manager for mobile and JBoss middleware, says he was not as shocked by the number of companies hiring for mobile skills, but saw the number looking at backend integration skills as “less surprise, more gratification.” “I think it’s a representation of the maturation of enterprise mobility and the way that enterprises are looking at mobility,” he tells Enterprise AppsTech.

“So much of the focus tends to be on the device, but if you focus exclusively on the device, the user experience and user interface, and not at all on the backend integration, you end up providing a substandard experience for your employees and your customers,” he adds. “The market is really understanding enterprise mobility and what all the challenges are – not just the single device.”

The market is really understanding enterprise mobility and what all the challenges are – not just the single device

Naturally, as mobile becomes more pervasive in the enterprise, the demand for mobile developers will increase. For O’Keefe, a former economist, it’s a simple supply and demand paradigm. The best way to address the need for more mobile apps within the business, of course, is to hire more mobile developers – but O’Keefe argues you can also make the developers you currently have more efficient through reusable components.

“By building reusable services on the backend, those backend developers start becoming more important in this overall ramping up [of] mobile devices, the more I can reuse those backend systems, and my mobile developers are now that much more efficient because they program to a simple API, they don’t have to program all the way to a backend system,” explains O’Keefe. “You can even bring non-mobile developers into the picture with those drag and drop tools.”

This is a subject O’Keefe has touched on in the past. Companies who offer a drag and drop, no-code tool to build enterprise apps – Red Hat being one of them – offer a useful service for companies to prototype apps, or if they just desperately need something functional in a few hours. But isn’t the point of the consumerisation of enterprise IT moving away from functional and into beautiful?

O’Keefe explains: “I myself can build a very simple form-based mobile app and I can give that to a mobile developer, a true mobile developer, and say ‘this is what I want’. I’ve gone through my level of iterations – now let’s make the experience that much better.”

It may be a baptism of fire as a mobile developer, however. A 2014 survey from MGI saw 71% of mobile projects deliver only average or poor return on investment. O’Keefe sees those times changing. “I think what we saw is in the recent past, a lot of enterprises dipped their toe into mobile with just any project. Because it was mobile, it was done.

“I think that they now are going through the rigour of saying not only do [they] want to it because it’s a mobile project, but they are now assessing the actual potential ROI of those projects,” he says.


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